Chapel Market’s longest serving stallholder retires on Christmas Eve after 57 years

Chapel Market will be a much quieter place once Leslie retires. He is well known for blaring out his

Chapel Market will be a much quieter place once Leslie retires. He is well known for blaring out his CDs on his stalls speaker system - Credit: Archant

After nearly six decades, one of Islington’s most familiar faces is retiring on Christmas Eve (Thurs).

Leslie Jacobs, 71, is the third generation of his family to trade in Chapel Market, going back 120 years.

He started in 1958, when he joined the family business, Jacobs Shoes. As well as the market stall, they had shops in Penton Street, Holloway Road and Enfield.

Little did Leslie know it, but he would man the stall for 57 years.

He was put in charge of the entire business in 1968. In 2000, he closed all the shops after financial problems, and changed to selling music exclusively on the market.

But as he prepared to sell his last CD, Leslie, who grew up in Aberdeen Park, Highbury, said retirement was not his choice.

“It’s quite emotional, and sad. I’ve been forced into it.

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“The main reason why I’m retiring is that my supplier closed two months ago. That was my only supplier and I can no longer replace the CDs. In any case, more and more people are downloading music.

“It’s a shame. I’m healthy and this keeps me busy. I will definitely be doing something to keep me occupied, whether it’s working in a charity shop or something like that.

“I will miss the stallholders. I’ve built up some good relationships over the years and would hope that continues socially. And I will miss certain customers - but not all of them!”

But Leslie, Chapel Market’s longest-serving stallholder by three years, added: “I’m 71, though, so I suppose it’s not a disaster to be retiring.”

The father-of-three, who moved to Ilford, east London, 34 years ago when he got married, said he was initially reluctant to join the family business.

“When I left school, I was told by my father that I was going to work in the market. I didn’t want to, but he was a very forceful man.

“Chapel Market has changed vastly since then, and not for the better. It’s practically deserted compared to how it used to be.

“The bigger supermarkets took over. Markets are very much dying. The artisan-style ones do well, but standard stalls are no longer viable six days a week.”

Shoppers can say goodbye to Leslie at his stall between 9am-5pm on Thursday.

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